Monday, August 3, 2009
A billboard in Kep extolling the virtues of King Father Norodom Sihanouk
Kampot and Kep could have their very own unique museum by the end of the year if lingustics expert Jean-Michel Filippi has his way. The Kampot Regional Museum Project is his particular baby and so far it's been at least one year in the gestation and planning stage, but with a fair wind, the arrival of sponsors and other influential parties such as UNESCO, Jean-Michel is looking to open his museum in Kep before the year is out. And he hopes that it will be a prototype for other regional museums in Cambodia in the future. Perhaps rather suprisingly, the area surrounding Kampot and Kep on the south coast has a varied and interesting history, beginning in pre-Angkorian times and includes at least six distinctive ethnic groups, each with their own brand of religious and economic impact on the area. It was also the hot-bed for revolution culminating in the 1885 rebellion as well as the French colonial authorities exercising their control prior to Prince Sihanouk's Sangkum Reastr Niyum period in the 1950s and beyond. And let us not forget the exceptional natural environment that the area also enjoys. All in all, there is lot to discover about Kampot and Kep, and Jean-Michel's museum will help you do exactly that in a modern interactive and informative way. He is also intending to offer a series of monthly lectures at the site, involve local schools, local crafts and regularly changing temporary exhibitions. Sounds pretty exciting to me. I'll provide more information as it takes shape.